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In worship, we are always expected to acknowledge our sins; in the world we are encouraged to know our aims and stick to them. This psalm is a reflection on change, in various walks of life, and on the distinctions between our commitment and our human necessity to acknowledge our mistakes. O that we might learn to find the wisdom that will let us get the distinction right!


  1. Why do we have to prove we're always consistent:
      is there virtue in knowing I've never changed my mind?
  2. Officials are expected to pursue the policies laid down for them:
      a politician needs to believe in
      the same things as before.
  3. Yet Saint Paul could glory in his changed direction:
      the preacher asks us to turn and be converted,
  4. the counsellor is at pains to hear and support the inconsistencies:
      a doctor may change the prescription
      in case I become immune!
  5. Frequently I make mistakes and need to recant:
      to say 'sorry' shows maturity and hope for the future;
  6. I can respect the person who acknowledges they were wrong before:
      even with the best will in the world
      anyone can change their view.
  7. But it's a sign of weakness to change a commitment:
      are we willing to trust the person
      who admits an error of judgement?
  8. Is it just that our society is adversarial:
      are we able to produce more honest and human leaders?
  9. Help me, God, to recognise my faults:
      when I fail in my expectations to be strong enough to cope,
  10. to be prepared to give another the credit for being right:
      more ready to lose face myself
      than to lie myself out of trouble.
  11. Teach me to change what needs to be changed:
      give me courage to accept what cannot be altered,
  12. but grant me wisdom to know the difference:
      and always to give the glory to you.


v. 11 - The "serenity prayer" based on words of R. Neibuhr:
"God grant me the grace to change what needs to be changed
the courage to accept what cannot be changed
and the wisdom to know the difference."